Found in 10 comments on Hacker News
tsumnia · 2019-12-27 · Original thread
> Has anyone had success with particular workouts or strategies to keep motivated?

Not to knock you, but this sentence is where I think the issue is - at some point motivation drops off and you need what I like to label as "discipline" to progress further.

The best piece of advice I heard was from someone getting awarded their 5th degree black belt in Aikido, something that takes decades to earn [I'm paraphrasing here]: Training is like a marriage. It is great in the beginning because you are learning all these new things and improving, like the honeymoon phase, everything seems to be great. But over time, that feeling will decrease a bit. Sometimes you wonder if its worth it at all. But, like a marriage, training takes effort and even years down the road you still have to work on it. Not just maintaining it, but actually working on it.

I also like a book by George Leonard called "Mastery" [1] that I think I've linked on HN before. In the book, he's taking the position of the instructor to explain types of "student behaviors" he's seen over the years - Dabblers, Obsessives, and Hackers (people who just "show up"). As learners, people will behave like one of these types on their way to becoming masters in an domain. Each student type stressed the same topic - dealing with when improvement "gets hard" and what steps can be done to help curb some of those issues.


jkuria · 2019-04-15 · Original thread
Good study. The phenomenon is also well documented and explained in George Leonard's book Mastery:

James Clear has a nice summary here:

TheHideout · 2019-03-26 · Original thread
I also went to graduate school in The Netherlands, studying Space Systems Engineering at TU Delft. The article does a good job at describing what the student life is like there and common pitfalls that will set you back. The ideas are good, and work great for the author, but they are better generalized as "fall in love with the process" [0]. He found ways to fall in love with the process of graduate school, primarily by finding a morning routine that he enjoyed. Just buying the things in the referral links is misguided. It is better to find ways that make YOU enjoy your daily routine more while on the path to mastery (in his case a PhD).


zebrafish · 2018-11-15 · Original thread
I haven't read but just a summary of the book but even that was helpful in letting me reframe some of these issues that I struggle with.

The key message that stuck with me was that the early stages of the mastery slope are exciting because of how much new knowledge we gain. However, most of life is spent in the plateaus, and learning to love the plateaus is key to finding persistence and self discipline.

stinkytaco · 2018-09-20 · Original thread
I found this approach was leading to depression. My attempt to have "extremely productive hobbies" just made me feel bad about them when they were neglected. It also led me to taking on too many things that interested me (garden, car, reading, tech, and so on). I found that when I quit prioritizing and just did stuff I enjoyed doing without worrying what the long term outcome would be, I was happier. If you've ever read Shop Class as Soulcraft [1] or Mastery (by George Leonard, not the Robert Greene book) [2] you will have some idea of what I mean. I began to pursue things for the sake of pursuing them, not because there was an end goal in site.

I realize that this is a purely personal anecdote and I realize this is not how people get rich, run a triathlon or change the world, but maybe I just can't do those things.

[1]: [2]:

tsumnia · 2018-06-28 · Original thread
> it's not incumbent on the student or athlete to develop it, it is the sign of a good teacher

Its more a sign of both - the student's willingness to adjust and the teacher's willingness to refine. The reason I say both is that you run into students that have a better chance of picking something up right away (prior experience) and others that do not. The student that does not have that prior experience still needs it in order to be successful. A good instructor knows not to only focus on the people with prior experience and help boost the latter as well.

For example, in martial arts (as I noted elsewhere), you have someone who has prior experience in body coordination, which makes it easier for them to pick up an art (or dance or a sport). A student whose never stepped on to a mat in their life still needs body coordination. While a good instructor should see that and help build that coordination, the student needs to develop motivation and discipline to do these things without the need of someone else. An out of shape student should needs to recognize they need to put in extra work to move up a level - that is something the instructor can only point out.

A great book I use as a backing to my teaching philosophy is Mastery by George Leonard[1]. It categories the different personalities of the student into Dabbler, Obsessive, and Hacker (not in a good way). Dabblers try but quit when things get hard; Obsessives consume everything possible until they start seeing diminished returns; and Hackers just kind of "show up" and steadily maintain/improve. People can be all three for different things but its handling the particular category appropriately that pushes people toward mastery.


gargarplex · 2014-04-14 · Original thread
You are being impatient and at risk of giving up prematurely.

Read .. Mastery by George Leonard

Get a mentor

Write code every day

Ask for feedback

Learn the culture. Watch the movies Hackers. Learn perl, C, or BASIC.

Install Linux on your main computer.

Find an open source project and contribute to it. Even if it's just documentation.

nrivadeneira · 2013-08-14 · Original thread
That's exactly how I feel about powerlifting. Once you get to a certain level, the attention to detail, specificity, and focus you need to progress are great analogues to other areas such as programming or entrepreneurship. It's become my personal meditation time where I disconnect from everything else and focus intensely on optimization and improvement.

If anyone is interested, this book has given me a vastly different perspective on things like exercise (or in parent's case, martial arts): When put in that perspective, I think exercise would greatly appeal to most hackers.

MordinSolus · 2013-01-05 · Original thread
> But here I am, feeling normal and useless. I lead a moderate sized club at RPI, but I don't even feel accomplished for it. I haven't seen any of the job offers that I felt were promised to me when I enrolled at the school, I haven't gotten any major internships.

I struggled with this as well. A big turning point for me was dropping entirely the notion of being entitled to anything. In reality, no one owes me anything just because I think I'm smart or because I think I work hard.

On the feeling unaccomplished part, maybe try reading a book like It's sort of a "the goal is the journey" book with some practical advice thrown in.

> As a kid I used to hit the video games pretty hard, but at some point I started to realize how fake the achievements felt. I literally can't stomach playing video games anymore. It feels like taking some sort of numbing drug. I have good memories, and I don't even regret most of the weekends I devoted entirely to video games (and the costs associated).

Me too! It sucks sometimes because I want to enjoy playing a game but don't. I've found that I can't play games, like Skyrim, that are just time-based grinds. Instead, I play games for the nostalgia, the story, for creativity elements, or for the competition/skill factor. Sometimes even then I feel uneasy playing games because I feel like I should be doing something more productive.. that's a tough feeling to get over.

> I worked a job last summer teaching kids. I still visit from time to time, and the trend of positive reinforcement and lack of criticism seems to be gaining momentum in our youth. My boss would not let me criticize my own students.

I don't think these things are mutually exclusive. You can certainly criticize and be positive (or at least not negative) about it.

zavulon · 2008-11-06 · Original thread
I recommend a book by George Leonard called "Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment". It talks about this topic... very fascinating and useful read (also quite short)

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